This was the case for an adult male great horned owl who came in last week. Fortunately, his rescuer, a DNR employee, knew from the outset that his chances for survival were slim to none and acknowledged to me that he simply didn’t want to see the bird suffer needlessly.
The poor GHO was found near the road and allowed his rescuers to toss a blanket over him without even a token fight. For a GHO, this isn’t a good sign. He was rail-thin, with a keel (breastbone) you could cut yourself on. He had massive head trauma and a severely infected left eye, filled with blood and pus and hard as a marble. The cornea was basically one huge ulcer, with several smaller ulcers beginning to form.
Lest I leave you all depressed with that philosophical treatise, however, let me offer encouraging news on the screech. She (yes, we decided based on her weight “he” is a “she”) is still not eating on her own but she is keeping down what I force-feed her. I continued consulting other rehabbers last week, and Kathryn Dudeck of Chattahoochee Nature Center suggested that she might be egg-bound (meaning she couldn’t lay an egg). Peggy x-rayed her to see if we could see any eggs or egg fragments, but all the x-ray, obtained over the vigorous protests of the screech, showed was a distended belly.
What we do know is her poop is looking much more normal and she’s more alert and active, even if she hasn’t resumed self-feeding yet. So at the very least, as Kathryn pointed out, there was some sort of blockage that has either resolved itself or has been resolved by the meds and fluids Madam Screech has been getting. She felt feisty enough last night to give me the stinkeye!